I did three days on the bike this week, and it felt great.

I really love commuting by bike, and it has made me feel better in so many ways. First of all, it’s just more fun than driving. Second of all, I’m getting in shape. I enjoy feeling strong and fit, and while you’d think that would be enough to ensure that I stay strong and fit, it isn’t. I go months at a time without really working out, and then I might go years where I maintain a pretty good level of fitness.

And then there are all the mental/emotional ways I feel better. I feel better about doing less harm to the earth. I am more relaxed, less stressed, and happier, even at work. I was talking to my therapist this week about how surprising it has been at what an intense difference the biking has made. We concluded that a big part of it was that when I’m on my bike, I’m living in the moment. It is a form of meditation, in many ways. And so I suddenly have almost 3 hours of meditation on the days I commute. No wonder I feel better!

I was also surprised at how quickly my recovery is improving. It is 14 miles each way, and I’m still pretty slow at it. (There are also a lot of lights.) I’m not worrying about how slow I am, even though I do have a goal of doing the commute in an hour or less. Right now I’m doing it in 1:15 – 1:20. And I’m okay with that, for now.

I rode on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I wanted to see how my legs would do with 2 days back to back. They did much better than I anticipated, especially given that I had a bike class on Wednesday evening that had us riding for at least an hour, and my legs were screaming. They were tired on Thursday, but actually improved throughout the day. On the ride home, I felt a little extra fatigue on the hills, but that was it. On Friday they felt only a little tired. I expected to be hurting, bad.

Tomorrow I’m riding with a friend. She’s a triathalete, but has promised to ride at whatever pace I want. We’ll be out in the country somewhere, with no traffic lights, but still plenty of hills. It will be interesting to see how that feels. And of course I’ll be riding to work again on Monday.

I have pushed myself throughout this beginning, but my body has repeatedly surprised me. I’ve got a lot more strength, and a lot more reserves than I was giving myself credit for.

And isn’t that true of us in life, in general?